I first went to WDW about 25 years ago when I was about 25. (You do the math!) I was incredibly excited -- it had been a childhood dream. Since then I've been to Disneyland in California twice, Disneyland Paris more times than I can remember, and Disneyland in Hong Kong once. I've also been to Universal Studios in Hollywood twice.
An unexpected opportunity to stay in Florida -- at a friend's house 20 mins drive from WDW -- was offered to me last week and I grabbed it with both hands. I booked a great flight from the UK and I'll be spending 5½ days in Orlando during the second half of August.
I'm an obsessional planner, in part driven by a fear of "missing out". Sites like this feed this. I've been trying to create the perfect visit. Initially I was going to limit myself to the four WDW parks, but then I read about Harry Potter at US and IOA, so that had to be squeezed in, too.
I decided that MK was lowest priority -- despite the emotional appeal, there's nothing that's really new to me. I'd like to do the Mountain rides and see the parades, but that's it. So I've pencilled that in for the ½ day -- the day I arrive in Orlando.
I've never been to Epcot or AK, and I'm really excited about them -- especially the new Pandora attraction -- so they're allocated one full day each. Naturally I'm promising myself I'll arrive before rope-drop each time.
I've allocated US and IOA one day each, and plan on getting a park-hopper ticket so I can ride the Hogwart's Express. I'm thinking about buying an Express ticket for at least one of these days.
That leaves DHS. I've been there before and "the Book", as I call it (the Unofficial Guide) downplays it a lot because of the sections that have been shut down while new attractions are being built. Nonetheless, I've allocated it one day.
I'm neutral about the water parks. I could go. I could not.
I thought about going to Cirque du Soleil, but that started to bring the cost to a ridiculous level and I couldn't see how I'd fit it in.
I have contradictory aims for this holiday. On the one hand -- I know this sounds dumb -- I want to have a relaxing time. On the other hand, I really want to make sure I tick off the A-list items. I'm trying to figure out which these are. For example, in MK, as I said, I'm all about the Mountains -- I don't care about Pirates or Small World. In US and IOA I'm mostly about Harry Potter.
I know it's going to be really hot and humid and there may be storms or worse. I don't know how I'll handle that. I've thought about taking afternoons off -- either exploring monorail hotels or even going back to the house I'm staying in. (I'll be hiring a car.)
Does any of this sound reasonable or make sense? Can anyone identify with it? Can you have a "leisurely" time at WDW and US in the third week of August, yet still get to do the really big stuff?
Does a successful WDW trip require massive advance planning? Reading "the Book" makes it seem like it really does. It's kinda stressing me out. I know, first world problem!